New Language!

Well, not really, but it was new to me, and it was a bit of a shock.

This post was originally going to be a bit of a rant about “people” who don’t catalogue their tapes, or record who’s speaking on the tape (or what the language is). I’ve been at AIATSIS for the past couple of days trying to sort out some Nimanburru recordings that ended up going astray.

The flipside of unlabelled tapes is that it’s extremely exciting to start up a track and to find it’s a language that’s very familiar. In this case, it was a language called “Nyindinyindi”. Turns out that the person auditioning the tapes misheard the place name. They’d recorded it as “Tinder Bay”, but it’s Pender Bay (which is in the Southwest of Bardi Country, where the language is called “Bardi coming up Nyulnyul”). This recording is Pender Bay Bard(i), aka the language of people called Goowalgarr or Olonggon, and it’s other wise unrecorded. The man speaking is named by first name only (email me if you need more details) and it’s clearly a dialect of Bardi different from what’s been recorded elsewhere. I’d never seen the name Nyindinyindi – it’s not in Tindale, or Nekes and Worms, or any of the other sources for this part of the world. I’m going to Sydney next week to look at the Elkin notebooks.

The kick in the teeth was that when I googled “Pender Bay” I say it’s a proposed area for a major gas processing plant. It’s beautiful country, we spent a day there on one of my field trips. It’ll change the whole peninsula, maybe for the better, with increased access (which might bring down the price of food and freight costs a bit), but potentially for the worse too.

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2 responses to “New Language!

  1. David Marjanović

    Wow. Congratulations!

  2. That’s exciting! Any thoughts on what you’re going to do with it?

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